History of Asbestos in San Diego
San Diego county was one of the centers for asbestos production in the late 1800’s, home to the John D. Hoff Asbestos Company. The company found great success not long after incorporating, and sold Asbestos paint and linings within the state and beyond it, even shipping an order of two tons of asbestos roofing paint to Denver fairly soon after being formed.
High demand for asbestos at the time required companies like the John D. Hoff Asbestos Company to purchase heavy machinery and expand their operations in order to process more asbestos in a shorter time. Their marketing campaigns grew just as quickly, with full page ads for asbestos appearing in magazines, and testimonials being collected from all sorts of satisfied customers, who of course had no idea about the dangers of asbestos.
Asbestos continued to be used into the next century and throughout WWI. Though the economic trouble of the great depression slowed construction, and slowed asbestos production by extension, WWII brought the industry back full force, and it continued to see common use in all kinds of construction until the 1970’s.
As the public began to become aware of the health risks associated with inhaling asbestos fibers, production and use of asbestos fell. In the United States, asbestos consumption peaked in 1973, at 804,000 tons. The last uses of asbestos in common products in the U.S. are believed to have taken place around 1999. Now, the use of asbestos is illegal in many countries, but countless buildings containing it still stand, especially in areas where it was produced, like San Diego county. The city of San Diego continues to have trouble with asbestos to this day. As recently as January of 2020, the city government has been accused of knowingly exposing workers to asbestos. When it comes to asbestos testing, San Diego is one of the cities where it’s most important to hire a qualified team of professionals.
Common Building Types Containing Asbestos
Asbestos use wasn’t limited to one kind of building. It has been used in schools, hospitals, asphalt roads, office buildings and highrises, and homes. Because asbestos fibers are very strong and completely fireproof, they were a very attractive building material for many years, and ended up in countless buildings, usually mixed into other materials. This means that it won’t always be easy to identify an asbestos containing material by sight.
One of the major factors affecting the likelihood of a building to contain asbestos is that building’s age. If a building was constructed between 1880 and 1999, there’s at least some chance that asbestos was used. Asbestos use reached its peak between 1950 and 1980, so buildings that were built or renovated in those decades are often most at risk.
There are a few kinds of materials that most commonly had asbestos added to them. Asbestos was often mixed into concrete, and was used for water tanks, walls and partitions, corrugated roofing, gutters, and for other purposes. Asbestos is especially common in roofing materials and paints, which can be some of the most easily damaged forms of asbestos. Because of its properties as an insulator, asbestos was commonly used to coat wires, or as insulation in walls. It can be found in a variety of decorative materials and composite materials like tiling as well, though less commonly.
Even if you’ve been exposed to asbestos for a long time, you aren’t likely to show symptoms for years after that continued exposure, so don’t let a lack of symptoms stop you from testing your building for asbestos. If you are experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, and tightness or pain in the chest, you should see a doctor.
The Asbestos Testing Process
Any building over 18 years old in 2020 has a chance of containing Asbestos. If you’re purchasing an older home or building, or if you have owned one for some time but are currently planning demolition or renovations, you should definitely have your building tested for asbestos. Here are some of the ways we can perform those tests.
Before testing, we can research the building to try and gather information about potential asbestos use. This won’t always be necessary, but it can make the process faster. If detailed records about construction or renovation exist, then they might point toward the use of asbestos. If not, then it might be possible to get similar information by contacting a previous owner or the firm responsible for the building’s construction, provided they are still in operation.
In order to discover whether a material does in fact contain asbestos, we carefully obtain a sample, preferably without damaging the material to minimize dust exposure. We then securely contain that sample and have it analyzed. Please remember that trying to obtain a sample of an asbestos containing material by yourself could put you in serious danger, so it’s better to leave it to the professionals.
Once a sample is analyzed, we can help you judge whether the asbestos containing material needs to be removed. Asbestos removal can be very dangerous, and can release a lot of asbestos dust into the air, so if the material is stable and in no immediate danger of breaking down, it can often be left intact. Even in those cases, though, the material should be clearly labeled so that it’s never accidentally damaged. We can walk you through that process.
In the event that an asbestos containing material needs to be removed, it absolutely must be dealt with by a qualified contractor.
Contact Asbestos Testers Today
If you’re looking for asbestos testing in San Diego, we’ve got you covered. We can test your home or building for asbestos quickly and with minimal disruption to your life or business. We can also provide advice and help with next steps if your building contains asbestos that needs to be removed.
If you think that your home or building might contain asbestos, don’t wait. The safety of you and those around you is important to us, so reach out now and let us help you get your building tested as soon as possible.